The West’s Use of Intellectual Property to Stifle Russia’s Commercial and Private Aircraft

As technology and innovation have progressed, war has transformed close behind, generating new types of weapons and threats. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine demonstrates the use of this development, including everything from Molotov cocktails to nuclear warfare. Though the West has not entered the fight, it has contributed to Ukraine’s efforts by not only supplying technology but by stifling it.

The United States Department of Commerce announced March 18, 2022, that it was imposing a new license requirement on aircrafts made in the United States or manufactured with more than 25% of its parts in the United States. Additionally, any action taken to assist these aircrafts, including refueling, maintenance, or repair, is prohibited. 1 In essence, the action has grounded 100 planes that arrived in Russia. The new rules have forced Russian airlines to start looking for alternatives to the ineffective and banned parts so their planes can fly without violating Western protocols. 2

This is a part of a larger effort by the Department of Commerce to cut economic and technological ties with Russia. The United States Patent and Trademark Office and the European Patent Office cut ties with both Russia’s intellectual property agency and the Eurasian Patent Organization. The USPTO will also not grant requests for Russian patents for entrance into the Global Patent Prosecution Highway, which allows expedited processing once approved in the originating patent office.3 In response, Russia issued a decree that prevents patent holders from “unfriendly countries” to receive any compensation for the invention.4 On top of that, the Chinese National Intellectual Property Administration has expanded entrance for Eurasian patent holders into its Patent Prosecution Highway program.5 Both sides are attempting to stronghold their enemies’ patents while supporting its allies. Clearly, as war and violence progress in Ukraine, the fight will continue among the soldiers but also among the countries’ patent offices.